A group of public services seeks to give impetus to the climate package

The climate provisions of the Democrats’ stalled reconciliation bill received broad support yesterday when the country’s investor-owned utilities trade group urged lawmakers not to abandon work on the package just yet.

The Edison Electric Institute yesterday released a statement saying its members back the more than $ 325 billion in tax credits proposed by Democrats included in the package as an important driver to help the electric sector move more quickly to a future of low carbon production.

“We strongly believe that we can accelerate towards a cleaner energy future if the right fiscal policies are in place, allowing power companies to further reduce their carbon emissions while maintaining the reliability and affordability of the electricity for the customers and the communities they serve, ”Tom, President of the EEI. Kuhn said in the statement.

Investor Utilities provide electricity to about 70 percent of the county and are a major industry lobby on Capitol Hill. The group’s statement is another positive development for the $ 550 billion climate part of the reconciliation plan amid continued uncertainty over the larger $ 1.7 trillion bill.

According to its statement, EEI said the technologically neutral approach to tax credits for clean energy, including renewable, nuclear, hydrogen and electric vehicles, would allow utilities “to make choices about which technologies ‘they deploy, while balancing reliability and resilience’.

Announcing his opposition to the bill in December, Senator Joe Manchin (DW.Va.) cited reliability as a major concern, saying the bill would “increase our dependence on supply chains foreign ”(Climate wire, December 20, 2021).

But earlier this week, Manchin, who chairs the Senate committee on energy and natural resources, told reporters negotiations on climate provisions were “much easier than anything else,” without going into details. (Green wire, January 4).

Unlike the social programs that Manchin has raised objections to in recent weeks, the climate programs are fully paid and run for 10 years. Clean energy tax incentives are also the type of policies Manchin has supported in the past, despite his bickering with the methane charge and a new credit for electric vehicles built by the union.

Democrats remain optimistic. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (DR.I.) said yesterday in an interview: “I think it is possible to get 50 votes on good weather elements.”

But as of now, there are no active discussions among Senate Democrats over allocating the climate portions and passing them as a separate party line reconciliation package. Several rejected the idea yesterday, and publicly they remain committed to tying their social safety net and their climate agenda into one package.

“I think it is clear that we are focusing on ‘Build Back Better’ and on a path to 50. That is what it is about,” Senate Finance Chairman Ron Wyden said yesterday. (D-Ore.) Asked about the possibility of a climate package.

Wyden added that conversations about how to revamp the full $ 1.7 trillion package have continued since Manchin voiced his opposition before the holidays.

“I’m not talking about a simplified package,” Wyden told reporters. “I’m talking about ‘Build Back Better’ and the commitments we made.”

Still, Democrats essentially had to wait for potential talks between Manchin, the White House and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (DN.Y.).

Schumer has also put voting rights and overhaul of obstruction rules to the fore, promising action on these issues by January 17, which means votes and meaningful action on “Build Back Better” will need to be done. expect at least later this month.

“I think it is understandable that there is a bit of a cooling off period after Senator Manchin’s announcements,” Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) Told reporters yesterday. “But I think he sincerely wants to find a way to support an important part of the president’s proposal.”

This story also appears in Energy wire.